Mountain Biking and Saving the South March Highlands

Click On Images To Enlarge

The Ottawa mountain biking community in recent years has been focused on the South March Highlands Conservation Forest accepting that the rest of the South March Highlands/Kanata Lakes trails will be lost to inevitable urban development.

Personally I am starting to become very hopeful that that will not be so and that at least some, if not all, of the remaining South March Highlands lands and trails will be saved from development. This will provide the potential for the South March Highlands to become a real family destination for mountain biking with trails ranging from true beginner (Greenbelt type) level trails to the advanced trails in the Outback system.

Just last week I rode some of the old "Kanata Lakes" trails between Goulbourn Forced Road and the Hydro Cut and it was quite enjoyable. The addition of these trails back into the system would increase the intermediate (Group D type) level trails in the system.

But where I see real potential is in the land north of the existing Conservation Forest that already has a trail on it that connects to the trails within the existing Conservation Forest and provides a trail all around Heron Pond. This land is currently privately owned but zoned Environmental Protection. The potential I see there is to purposefully build a new sustainable trail network on the land further north where true beginner level trails could be built so that whole families, from Ottawa and beyond could visit, Family members could ride the trails that suit their skill level all from one central trailhead, where toilet facilities could be provided and perhaps a picnic area for families to meet up together mid day.

The same trails that form the basis for a beginner trail system could be used for a flowy race course where races could be held to further promote the South March Highlands as a mountain biking destination.

As is the current practice all these trails would be shared trails open to everyone. The only exception being the race course while actual races were being held.

The current City Council takes the first step to save all of the South March Highlands at one of it's last meetings in mid November. Urge your current councillor to support the Wilkinson-Doucet motion that starts the process of saving all of the South March Highlands. Let us all do what we can to save the South March Highlands from further urban development.


andy44 said...

Just came across this article, any word on how these plans are going?? I think it's a great idea!

rww said...

The battle to save all of SMH continues. Probably a better chance to get the lands not yet approved for development protected than saving those already approved.